1 . Dhanteras
Dhanteras is an important part of Diwali celebrations. Dhanteras marks the first day of Diwali celebrations. Dhanteras is also called Dhanvantari Trayodashi. It falls on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha in the Hindu month of Kartik (October November). The word Dhan signifies money or wealth. On the day of Dhanteras, people worship the Goddess of Wealth (Goddess Lakshmi). Since Dhanteras is associated with the worship of Goddess Lakshmi, it is a very important celebration in the homes of the mercantile community. In India, houses and market places wear a festive look on the day of Dhanteras and market places are abuzz with people all around.
2 . What is Dhanteras
Dhanteras indicates the beginning of Diwali celebrations. It is on this day on which people purchase precious metals with a belief that they will bring prosperity. Dhanteras is also known as Dhantryaodashi or Dhanwantri Triodasi.
3 . What does Dhanteras mean
According to the lunar calendar, Dhanteras falls on the thirteenth day of the Ashwin (October November) month. The word Dhanteras comes from the Sanskrit word Dhan which means wealth and Teras which means thirteen.
4 . What is the significance of Dhanteras
This day is devoted to worship Goddess Lakshmi, who is the Goddess of wealth according to Hindu mythology. People purchase gold, silver and other utensils on this day to welcome prosperity in their houses. They also purchase crackers, candles, diyas, lamps and most importantly clay idols of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi to perform Lakshmi Pooja. A girl born on this auspicious day is said to be very lucky, as it indicates the arrival of goddess Lakshmi into the house.
5 . Why is Dhanteras celebrated
Dhanteras is mainly celebrated to get the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi. Everyone tries to make Goddess Lakshmi happy and for the same reason they also perform Lakshmi Pooja. People believe that it is very important for everyone to perform all the rituals correctly else Goddess Lakshmi wouldnt be coming to their respective houses and indeed there would not be any prosperity. The Hindu community celebrates Dhanteras festival very religiously.
6 . How to celebrate Dhanteras festival of wealth
On Dhanteras, Lakshmi the Goddess of wealth is worshiped to provide prosperity and well being. It is also the day for celebrating wealth, as the word Dhan literally means wealth and Tera comes from the date 13th.In the evening, the lamp is lit and Dhan Lakshmi is welcomed into the house. Alpana or Rangoli designs are drawn on pathways including the goddess footprints to mark the arrival of Lakshmi. Aartis or devotional hymns are sung eulogizing Goddess Lakshmi and sweets and fruits are offered to her.Hindus also worship Lord Kuber as the treasurer of wealth and bestower of riches, along with Goddess Lakshmi on Dhanteras. This custom of worshiping Lakshmi and Kuber together is in prospect of doubling the benefits of such prayers.People flock to the jewelers and buy gold or silver jewelry or utensils to venerate the occasion of Dhanteras. Many wear new clothes and wear jewelry as they light the first lamp of Diwali while some engage in a game of gambling.
7 . What is the story behind celebration of Dhanteras
While the preparations of Diwali celebrations are on their full swing, Dhanteras adds on a new dimension to it. There is a very interesting story that backs this Hindu festival. The son of King Hema was intended to die on the fourth day of his marriage. The king and queen wanted their son to enjoy all goodness of life and therefore they got him married. The fourth day of his marriage was the disgraceful day.On the fourth day, his wife did not let him sleep and placed lots of gold & silver coins around him and the gate was blocked with these coins. Moreover big lamps were lightened all around the palace. She kept telling her husband various stories and sung songs so as to keep him awakened. As Yama, the God of death came, in the guise of a serpent he could not enter the room of the Prince as his eyes were stupefied by the flash of gold and silver. Leaving the coins aside, he then got lost in the songs sung by the princess and the way the entire palace was decorated. The next morning Yama had to turn back to his world. In this way the girl saved her husbands life.Because of the above told story, this day is also called Yamadeepdaan. Lamps are kept burning throughout the night in the honor of Yama. Another amazing legendary story associated with Dhanteras is that of Samudra Manthan. When Lord Indra along with a team of demons churned the sea to nullify the curse of Sage Durvasa, Goddess Lakshmi emerged from the sea with Necter (Amrit).Dhanteras is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm which makes bonds of love and relationships stronger. Along with the Lakshmi Pooja, children add fun to the day by bursting colourful crackers and rockets. Dhanteras is a very fortunate day and people start all the new activities on this day. People love celebrating Diwali & Dhanteras and Dhanteras creates a cheerful and positive atmosphere all over the country.
8 . Legend behind the Dhanteras and Naraka Chaturdashi
An ancient legend ascribes the occasion to an interesting story about the 16 year old son of King Hima. His horoscope predicted his death by snake bite on the fourth day of his marriage. On that particular day, his newly wed wife did not allow him to sleep. She laid out all her ornaments and lots of gold and silver coins in a heap at the entrance of the sleeping chamber and lit lamps all over the place. Then she narrated stories and sang songs to keep her husband from falling asleep.The next day, when Yama, the god of Death, arrived at the prince s doorstep in the guise of a Serpent, his eyes were dazzled and blinded by the brilliance of the lamps and the jewelry. Yam could not enter the Princes chamber, so he climbed on top of the heap of gold coins and sat there the entire night listening to the stories and songs. In the morning, he silently went away.
9 . The Myth of Dhanavantri
Another legend says, in the cosmic battle between the gods and the demons when both churned the ocean for amrit or divine nectar, Dhanavantri the physician of the gods and an incarnation of Vishnu emerged carrying a pot of the elixir. So, according to this mythological tale, the word Dhanteras comes from the name Dhanavantri, the divine doctor.
10 . Rituals and Celebrations of Dhanteras
As Dhanteras is associated with the worship of Goddess Lakshmi, people draw small footprints with rice flour and vermilion powder throughout the house right from the entrance (indicating the arrival of Goddess Lakshmi). As Dhantrayodashi or Dhanteras is considered very auspicious, people shop for gold, silver and some utensils. To celebrate the auspicious arrival of Goddess Lakshmi, the homes of people are illuminated by oil lamps, which are lit throughout the night. Lakshmi Puja is also an important part of the Dhanteras celebrations. The Lakshmi Puja is performed at midnight. Devotional songs, in praise of Goddess Lakshmi, are sung by the people. Goddess Lakshi is offered naivedya of sweets, which serve as the auspicious Prasad of the Goddess. In many parts of South India, there is a tradition of cow worship by the farmers (on Dhanteras). For farmers, cows signify wealth and are considered to be the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi.